Abakar Kazbekov scored the shootout winner to end a wild night in Owen Sound, Ont., with the London Knights on top 5-4.
The goal capped off more outstanding performances by London captain Luke Evangelista and Knights goaltender Brett Brochu.
Evangelista hit 20 goals on the season with his second pair in two nights, giving him eight goals in his past five games and 20 in 18 games.
To put in perspective how quickly Evangelista reached the 20-goal plateau, it took Patrick Kane 23 games to score 20 in his only season with the Knights. Kane went on to score 62 that year. Rob Schremp reached 20 goals in 16 games the year before that, but Dave Bolland managed to score 20 in 15 games that same 2005-06 season.
Brett Brochu kicked aside 44 shots through 65 minutes, then made another big save in the shootout, opening the door for Kazbekov to seal London’s sixth victory over the Attack this season. The Knights are 6-0 against Owen Sound. Five of those games have been decided by a goal. Two have gone to a shootout and one to overtime.
The first goal of the game will forever read: Liam Gilmartin with assists from Cody Morgan and Connor Federkow. Tonio Stranges will never have his name included as a part of the goal, but he was instrumental in making it happen. Stranges toe-dragged a puck around a defender, put it off his skate to his stick and backhanded it toward the shot. A shot and two rebounds later Gilmartin was celebrating. London had gone ahead 1-0.
The first period featured more fights in 20 minutes than there had been all season in Knights games. Madden Steen dropped the gloves with Brody Crane in what appeared to be payback for a hit that sent Owen Sound captain Mark Woolley into the end boards in London. It earned Crane a three game suspension.
After that two more rookies, Landon Sim of the Knights and Cal Uens of the Attack, wrestled around in front of the London net and ended up squaring off. Before the end of the period, Max McCue and Julian Fantino dropped their gloves.
Call it a byproduct of two teams seeing each other six times in under two months.
The teams stayed tight into the second period as they see-sawed through five goals.
Denis Goure tied the game 1-1 at the 2:06 mark.
Evagelista’s first goal of the game came courtesy of a dump-in by Sean McGurn that took a Bayshore Bounce that the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre is famous for. The puck came right out in front, and Evangelista out-waited Attack goalie Nick Chenard and scored making it 2-1.
Again Owen Sound came back. Servac Petrovsky scored to tie the game, 2-2.
Evangelista set up Colton Smith for his OHL rookie-leading 11th goal of the year, giving the Knights a 3-2 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the second period. But then a Denis Goure shot hit Cedrick Guindon in front and the game sat tied for a third time.
Ethan Burroughs put the Attack ahead for the first time just 3:46 into the third period. Owen Sound held that lead until the 16:11 mark when Evangelista zipped across the blue line and ripped a shot high, setting up overtime and hitting 20 goals.
The Attack outshot London 48-31.
The teams will meet one more time before the holiday break, on Friday, December 17, at Budweiser Gardens.
Ex-Knights Austin and Platzer reunited in Tappara
Kyle Platzer and Brady Austin wore the green and gold of the London Knights at the same time from October of 2013 to January 8, 2014. Austin was acquired from the Belleville Bulls and Platzer was traded to the Owen Sound Attack. The pair has now found themselves in the same place for the second time in their careers in Finland’s Liiga in the blue, orange and white of Tappara.
Platzer was a draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers and spent three seasons in the American Hockey League and ECHL before moving to Finland. Austin was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 2012 and played in five National Hockey League games with Buffalo before eventually moving to Europe during the 2018-19 season. Austin has played in Denmark, the Czech Republic, the KHL and now Finland.
Former Knight Mattinen headed to Universiade
Nic Mattinen did some winning during his Ontario Hockey League career. He was part of two OHL championship teams in London and Hamilton. He was a 26-year old defenceman on the Knights when they won the Memorial Cup in 2016. Now the Ottawa, Ont., native is headed to the 2021 FISU Winter Universiade in Lucerne, Switzerland from December 11 to 21. Mattinen is currently playing OUA hockey with the Ottawa Gee Gees. Canada won bronze at the last Universiade they attended in 2019. They won gold in 2013.
Bring on the bears
The 20th annual London Knights Teddy Bear Toss for the Salvation Army is now two games away. The Knights will host the Sarnia Sting on December 4 at 4 pm at Budweiser Gardens. The first London goal of the day will add to an all-time total of 132,358 stuffed toys collected and distributed to children in the London, Ont. area since 2001.
The Knights record for bears was set in 2012 when 10,671 toys were tossed from the stands after a Seth Griffith first period goal on December 14 against the Owen Sound Attack. Griffith also scored the game winner with less than four seconds to go in the third period in a 3-2 London victory that was part of their 24-game winning streak that season.
For the first time since November 20 the Knights will be back home for a pair of games. London will host the Erie Otters on December 3 at Budweiser Gardens. The Knights knocked off the Otters 7-4 on November 13 in Erie, Penn. That game saw Denver Barkey, Cody Morgan,